Monday, August 24, 2009

Movie Monday: Whine and Cheese

I saw an old preview for Bottle Shock recently, which reminded me of how insanely bad the movie was. I saw it on a plane...do I need to say more? Bottle Shock purports to tell the story of how a winery in Napa beat out all those stuffy old world French vintages in the Seventies. The Napa wine-man (Bill Pullman) battles it out with a snobby English wine taster (Alan Rickman). Meanwhile the guy from Six Feet Under (Freddy Rodriguez) makes secretly good wine and gets involved in a love triangle with Bill Pullman's son and an inexplicably hot girl who just shows up to work in the vineyards and likes to flash cops. Hey, it's the Seventies.

I began to wonder why movies made about the wine industry are always so bad--not counting Sideways, of course. That was movie like a shaft of light from heaven itself. But I'm thinking of movies like A Good Year, which I also saw on a plane and in which Russell Crowe inherits a Provencal chateau and vineyard, complete with secretly good wine and a hot vineyard worker (Marion Cotillard). Seeing a pattern?

And then there's A Walk in the Clouds. Hot vineyard girl? Check. Secretly good wine? Well, no, but will you give me secret love? Keanu Reeves returns from World War II and decides to help a pregnant girl face her old world father during the grape harvest. Of course, Keanu falls for her and decides to defend her honor. Good Keanu. Oh, and he accidentally sets the vineyards on fire. Bad Keanu.

Perhaps it is the need to inject some romance into the story of wine that serves as the death knoll for these movies. Maybe that's why Sideways was so sneakily satisfying: instead of being about the romace between Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen, it was about the relationship between Paul and Thomas Haden Church. Take note, future wine industry movies: in order to make a good movie about wine, keep it strictly platonic.

1 comment:

Donna Cappello said...

Ah, but wine is all about "amore"!